More than 2500 years ago, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated that the “only thing that is constant is change.” At least since then, philosophers and scientists have attempted to explain and predict change – direction, trajectory, rate. Even though change itself is a constant, the rate of change is rarely constant. Many natural and historical changes can be modeled by the ‘slow-fast-slow’ trajectory of the Sigmoid(S) curve. Events in one epoch happen slowly – often imperceptibly – and then thrust forward exponentially – often imperceptibly – and subsequently taper off into a new epoch. The convexity of the S-curve explains the diminishing returns and marginal utility in economics and the concavity models the growth of living organisms and the exponential returns of compounding. The sciences are abound with S – curves. Stephen J. Gould’s theory of punctuated equilibrium explain speciation data with a S-curve, Joseph’s Schumpeter’s creative destruction can be modeled via a S-curve, Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shifts in science can be explained by S – curves. The universe seems to be filled with S-curves, however, they only come into focus retrospectively. They are more surprising, the longer we have been waiting for them, and maximally surprising, right before they happen.
Learning and skill-building also follows the S – curve framework of ‘slow-fast-slow.’ In French, the verb essayer means ‘to attempt’ or ‘to embark upon.’ I hope to use the essays on this website to explore, compose, and develop thoughts because “writing is thinking on paper” and “thinking is the endeavor to capture reality by the means of ideas.” As the historian, Will Durant stated, “the only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual.” The goal is freedom at the end of the S – Curve.